This post was most recently updated on October 24th, 2023
[A collaboration post with Day Translations – all thoughts are my own.]
Translators deserve more recognition. Let’s send our appreciation to all the hard-working translators and linguists who are helping us communicate with each other.
With International Translation Day coming up on September 30th, I write this article to thank translators and interpreters, as they’re spreading love and saving lives.
Translators deserve more recognition because they make communication possible between people from different countries and cultures. They make this happen despite language and cultural barriers. However, most of the time, translators remain behind the scenes. Despite their essential role in overcoming communication barriers, they still don’t get the recognition they deserve.
When did I become aware of the translator’s existence?
I first became aware of translators in college, when I started to study English seriously. I should have known it because not everything was automatically in the Indonesian language (stupid me), but the idea of the translators themselves, people who did this for a living, never crossed my mind.
I always mentioned that I love reading. I used to visit rental books when I was in junior high school. I read thousands of manga (comics or graphic novels originating from Japan) and hundreds of novels. I didn’t really realize at the time that these books, of course, went through a translation process before being marketed in my country.
I have a feeling that translators don’t get the recognition they deserve. I’ve looked through all my books that are translated from other languages (Sherlock Holmes and Harry Potter series), and on almost all of them, the translator’s name did not appear on the cover. I instead had to flip through the book itself to find the name below the copyright section, which most people don’t even look at!
Without translators, I couldn’t even read my favorite books and other books would be completely unavailable to book lovers. So with this upcoming International Translation Day, I am proposing that we, as a book-loving community, collectively take the time to recognize and appreciate the work of translators. Not only is their work extremely important in giving us incredible content from around the world, but it is also hard as hell!
As someone who works in an environment with English-speaking people, I’ve had first-hand experience with going back and forth between languages. I’ve been on the side of correcting my parents or friends—and on the side of providing a translation—trying to decide whether to provide a translation that either is accurate or sounds sophisticated, or struggling when certain words exist in one language but not the other.
The job of a translator is not as simple as taking the words of one language and switching them into another. A translator is also responsible for interpreting the heart of the original author’s words into a completely different language. And there are more aspects that a translator has to take into consideration and be able to recreate using completely different materials. At the beginning of my translation career, it took me a day just to translate a 500-word document!
To think that there are people who speak and master multiple languages is just mind-boggling. So, let’s just all promise to take a moment to recognize and appreciate the translators who have given us, what I think we can all agree on, the greatest gift—more books!
Day Awards 2021
As an ambassador of Day Translations, I would really love to share with you about the Day Awards!
Day Awards is an event Day Translations does every year, to be shared on YouTube in which we all acknowledge the work of translators and interpreters, and give them awards. They also have artists who won the Music Competition this year featured.
It’s a super-fun event filled with culture and one of the ways to give something nice to the translators and interpreters. Check out the Day Awards 2020 – and here is your free ticket for the Day Awards 2021 on the 30th of September! Join me!
Reasons why translators deserve more recognition
Translators help people progress
Technical translators work in industries that demand 100% accuracy, they translate technical research, medical notes, journals, and studies. Thanks to translators, for centuries, scientists have been able to transfer knowledge through translation in all fields, from mathematics to chemistry, and medicine. Even today, when most scientists speak English, working with professional translators can increase the quality of the research in international teams and allow them to collaborate, despite the communication difficulties.
Translators making our world a better place
Professional translators contribute to improving the world in many ways. Translators bring people together as they shorten the distances between people, by gathering them around common interests. Think about all the content that you wouldn’t have access to without translation services.
Outside literature, international news, movies, apps, software, video games, social media platforms, and many of your favorite apps would go unnoticed if they hadn’t been translated. Most of the time, no one thinks about the effort behind the subtitles at the bottom of the screen when watching a movie. However, the translator’s work is an essential part of making that movie an international success, and that’s why translators deserve more recognition for it.
On the other hand, the non-English speaking world can thank translators for Shakespeare, The Game of Thrones, Fortnite, Minecraft, and online shopping on Amazon, to mention a minuscule part of the amount of translators’ work.
Now you realize that hundreds of millions of people use translations. Think of articles, blogs, instructions of use, medicine labels, recipes, and other technical information that creators and manufacturers translate for their customers. Much of the content people read every day is translated from another language by professional translators.
Thousands of translators, interpreters, and linguists reduce distances between people and nations by giving local populations access to content from and into hundreds of different languages.
Translators add cultural value
The need for translation and localization services has grown significantly as more companies expand globally. Language specialists have an important role in this process as they add value by rewriting the content using a local touch.
For example, when a brand launches in South America, translating content into Spanish may not be enough to gain popularity among locals. Professional translators know how to use local slang and cultural stereotypes in a way that adds value to both the local audience and the brand.
Translators and Interpreters are essential for International Law
The international human rights field wouldn’t exist without translators and interpreters. They work thousands of hours translating testimonies, reports, news, and other texts that end up in courtrooms and help the legal system carry out justice.
Not only that, translators and interpreters make sure everybody gets fair treatment in courtrooms, whether they’re witnesses, plaintiffs, or other parties involved in the process.
Translators Deserve More Recognition Every Day
Translators have an essential role in the way knowledge and information travel across the globe, overcoming language barriers and bringing people together. Whether they work for commercial purposes or non-governmental organizations, translators change the world and add cultural value.